Monday, July 23, 2018

212. Mortonagrion falcatum Lieftinck, 1934

Number: 211
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus: Mortonagrion
Species: Mortonagrion falactum
Common name(s): Hooked Midget
Habitat: Open paddy fields
Province(s) sighted: Chantaburi environs
Sightings (by me): Abundant at two locations
In flight: July (though I believe all year)
Species easily confused with: Mortonagrion aborense

Mortonagrion aborense is a fairly common species that can be found around the country and is often found in swampy areas, grassy ponds and lakes on the edge of forest and also deep under the protection of foliage. So... the same should be said for Mortonagrion falactum, right? Well, it couldn't be further from the truth! We were led by a Dragonflies of Thailand Facebook group member (sorry, I don't know the name but thank you sooo much) to all I can describe as being a regular farmer's paddy field in the middle of nowhere. It was a place you would most certainly drive straight past and not give it a second's thought. Not only that, one we got our eye in (the Facebook team) and we realised just how small it was, it was easy to spot them everywhere. It was also abundant in another farmer's field not too far away, which suggests any field that is similar in the location could well have many of them. So, once found and in fairly decent light (though was heavily cloudy with a storm brewing in the distance) getting photos shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, you couldn't be further from the truth. Being so small and there was a constant breeze making photography really tough. It was also quite skittish and we all had to wade through the rice fields to follow them. I managed to get a few decent photos in the end (as did everyone). However, I think we all felt a little dizzy in the end. 

The Male
Tiny, but beautiful. A species I didn't think I would ever get to see. The most distinctive feature is its blue patch on the abdomen. The appendages are also distinctive which probably give it its name.


The Female
The female is a lot duller in comparison, though there orange-brown thorax was pretty easy to pick out in the long rice fields. On closer inspection (though tough to see), it has slim blue stripes along the abdomen. There is also a feint patch on the abdomen like the male (though no way near as strong). 


 The Teneral Female
I was also lucky enough to spot a teneral female (Noppadon saw teneral male but I missed it).